The Dreaming Maiden was the final arc of Wolverine Volume #4 taking #314 through 317. There is much here that I liked about volume #4 – Melita and Jean Grey School. It also includes some things I don’t like – magic crap, Seraph’s Angels, and yet another group Logan was a member.
First off let’s give the usual disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
Credit to the creators of this arc: Cullen Bunn, Writer – Paul Pelletier, Penciler #314-316 – Cam Smith, Penciler #316 -317 – Dave Meikis, Inker – Cam Smith, Drew Hennessy, Mark Pennington, Inkers #317 – Rain Beredo, Colorist #314-316 – Wil Quintana, Colorist #316-317 – VC’s Cory Petit, Letterer – Mike DelMundo, Covers – Jared K Fletcher, Designer – Jennifer M. Smith, Asst. Editor – Jeannie Schafer, Editor – Nick Lowe, Group Editor – Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief – Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – Alan Fine, Ex. Producer.
In this arc a good deed Logan did back in his days as a free-lance muscle guy comes back to haunt him. It turns out years ago he was hired by a group called The Covenant to kill a maiden that dreams the future. As he’s trying to recover his relationship with and memories of Melita after his second encounter with Dr. Rot he’s interrupted by his past. He leaves Melita to ensure his good deed still saved a life.
As the story progresses we learn magic is involved, possibly aliens, and there’s yet another shadow group of super powers with their agenda operating in the world. I get that Logan is getting near 200 years old and that he might have involvements we haven’t heard about. Yet I find that Marvel universe is getting crammed full of superpowered groups (magical, alien, mutant, mutated like Spidy, etc.) that I have to wonder are there any normal every day humans left? Also how can one of these groups turn around without bumping into another one – be they good or evil groups? It’s getting too far fetched that was supposed to be fixed with the M-Day arc but no it’s getting bloated again.
As Logan goes about protecting the Dreaming Maiden again Seraph’s Angels get involved to help him. If you aren’t familar with Seraph’s Angels it’s a group of Logan’s bitter exs that now are a super-team themselves. Melita is the newest member. I have issues about this on several levels. First I find it insulting to women that they all unite having been in a relationship with the same man. Is that all that defines them now – ex-girl of Wolverine. I find that very demeaning of women. Especially these women that were portrayed as very strong women in their own arcs and now they are mewling jilted lovers that can’t get over it so banded together to kick ass. Not a concept I enjoy. Not something I enjoy seeing as a role for a strong female character. Next Cassie the BTF Agent wasn’t really a girl friend – she chased him and eventually he screwed her to feel human after placing a dead drug dealing woman’s baby in her nice sister’s care. As far as she goes it seems to be a one-night stand she never got over. Next issue is there was this big arc where Logan dug up Seraph’s body to find out about the Romulus crap. So she’s supposed to be dead – but if it gets rid of all that stupid line about Romulus and Remus I’d love to have Seraph back. Though I do wonder how she’s not a little person any more and how this effects her dying wish he marry Viper to keep peace in Madapoori. That all said there were some funny panels that come from exs working together.
Once again during the climatic scene that addresses the major issue of the arc – Wolverine/us black out to learn how it resolved itself without us. This has a rushed feel and looking at the number of inkers, change of colorists, and such add to that impression. We are left with the hanging questions that won’t be answered since the title is off to relaunch as part of the Marvel NOW initiative. The sad thing is that when the arc started it was pitched as a jumping on point but then we are left wondering – “What will the reunited Covenant do now?” “Are the Dreaming Maiden’s people coming for her?” “What’s the status between Logan and Melita?” So far in the new volume these are just dropped threads that may never be picked up in service of the trend of bit events and relaunches of titles after them.
Over all I lie the concept – Logan spared a life back in his for hire days. The group that hired him for hit find out their target is still alive and come after Logan to finish this supposedly “finished” contract. In the course of saving the target again he has to work with a bitter ex or two. Is a great pitch, a great set up and a story that I wanted to read. However to have him black out during the resolution, the group that hired the hit slip away, and magic/aliens be involved destroyed it for me.
As for the art, it was good until #316 then it develops what I consider a rushed feel. Suddenly we change pencilers, we have a team of inkers, and the colorist split the job. Not only does the story feel rushed to the conclusion but so does the art. Not keeping the at least same penciler through out the whole arc or changing artists to make say flashbacks differ from story today is fine but this like the jump in artists in the Warbird arc at X-Men gives the story a rushed to finish patchwork feeling.
That said I do enjoy Pelletier’s art. It’s not in my top loves but I like it and enjoy it. Smith does well picking up and blending in as best as two artists can. Their styles aren’t as abruptly different as those in the Warbird arc I mentioned. I think the expressiveness in the opening scene where Logan is trying to understand and recapture what he had with Melita is touching and well done. Pelletier is good at giving a strong character the looks of vulnerability, regret, and sadness without much to-do. It adds well to the experience of the comic where not everything is stated some is shown.
Once again I’m left feeling Marvel missed the mark in the rush to keep to corporate plans. Honestly, I am waiting for the day when they realize that well written stories coupled with strong supporting art will sell comics better longer term than marketing gimmicks. I know of two faithful readers that have dropped many Marvel titles because they are tired of potentially good story concepts ruined by forced cross-overs or rush to the next gimmicky event.
Next a few highlights from the issues – some laughs with ex-girlfriends and some touching scenes along with nonsense.
Next time it’s an all new Wolverine volume, vol 5, supporting the Marvel NOW relaunch event.